Talent - Creating a ‘well organisation’ isn’t just about inspiration, it’s action

By Pauly Grant | 28 June 2022
Pauly Grant.

Publicis Groupe chief talent officer Pauly Grant in Part 2 of her series on the talent market. See Part 1 HERE

As organisations undertake a great evaluation of themselves in response to the talent wars, some are considering the value of creating a ‘well organisation’. As a concept, this involves how you look at your entire organisation through the lens of life experience. Everything from job design, to culture, and how this is brought to life in your practices, rewards structure, L&D programs and the fundamental design of your organisation.

In overseeing 22 agency businesses in ANZ the region, there are four key areas that I’ve identified as essential to creating a well or healthy organisation: it takes time, aligned leadership, feedback that’s shared not siloed, and an ethos focused on improvement that is actionable, not just aspirational.

Time and speed to respond

Time is one of those things that many feel they never have enough of. But every organisation has the same 24 hours a day to work with – it’s an equal resource.

So how are you identifying and evaluating what projects require a longer timeframe to complete and achieve transformation, versus acting quickly in response to market forces.

As an example, in our organisation we launched two future of work initiatives. The first was a new flexible working framework which we began to roll out in 2019. Because it involved behavioural change, we knew it would be a long-term investment to see this new way of thinking and working embraced across our entire organisation.

On the other hand, during Covid and as a result of people’s fatigue from the extended lockdowns, we quickly mobilised to launch an initiative allowing our staff to work from anywhere in the world to enable them re-connect with loved ones.

Aligned leadership

From the CEO to the broader leadership team,having an awareness and acceptance of the challenges your business faces in supporting and focusing on the right solution is key. This means asking yourselves questions like:

Does your business strategy align with your people strategy?

If not, where can you draw a line in the sand so that you can start to change your approach?

And if they are aligned, how can you identify any emergent points of friction within your business and people strategies?

Feedback – shared, not siloed

Often feedback is not shared broadly with relevant stakeholders across an organisation, but with segmented and siloed teams that are unaware of other symptoms or successes that may exist within other departments.

That’s why it’s important to take an audit of all your feedback touch points – from employees to clients – to help your team connect the dots across your entire organisation. Then it’s about how you integrate all those insights and data into a holistic strategy across the business.

Actionable ethos – created and organic

You could trawl through many agency credentials (including ours), client EVPs and industry promises over the last 15 years and see a plethora of ‘people first’ positionings.

This is all well and good, but how can businesses put this into action? The answer is action needs to be both ‘created’, and ‘organic’.

When they are created, they’re brought to life through a company’s initiatives, incentives and programs. When they are organic, they’re manifested in the culture that exists.

What we’ve learnt as an organisation is that created and organic actions are intrinsically linked.

If the artificially-created initiatives and programs do not reflect the current or emerging organic operational or cultural ethos of the business, they become superficial. And that’s just a waste of time, money and resources.  

Your ‘well organisation’ starter kit

So how do you start your great evaluation as an organisation?

  • Re-assess whether your business and people strategy line up, and are complimentary in the current and future working state.
  • Flip your thinking from creating a great EX (employee experience) to LX (life experience). Ask yourself, how is your business affecting your employees’ LX?
  • Does your ethos have a healthy mix of ‘created’ and ‘organic’ actions? And do they connect, or are they quite separate?

Finally, are you empowered to create a well organisation?

If not now, then when?

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